Conserved Orchard Road property up for rent

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A rare opportunity is on offer to become master tenant of a striking heritage state property at the bottom end of Orchard Road.

The property, near MacDonald House, was built shortly after World War I and features exceptional architectural styles, including both Classical and Art Deco features.

The property occupies 26, 28, 30, 32 and 36 Orchard Road, and appears to be unused at present.

In offering the property for an initial three-year tenancy, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) is taking the unusual step of considering both the price and quality of the tender.

The bids will be assessed holistically, so the site will not necessarily be awarded to the bidder submitting the highest bid price.

Half of the overall score will be given for the bid price and the other half for quality of the concept.

Ms Yap Eai-Sy, SLA's deputy director of business planning and development, said the move towards price and quality tenders "marks SLA's progression as a dynamic master planner for the interim use of state properties and land".

"Recognising the changing times and environmental needs, we hope to be able to provide an expanded range of use for state properties and to encourage greater entrepreneurship," she said.

The property is the last remaining street-block of buildings in Orchard Road. The tender for the tenancy opened yesterday.

Analysts said that the move was a good way for SLA to experiment with the price and quality concept.

Mr Alan Cheong, head of Singapore research at Savills, said: "It's a small step with minimal risk to experiment with the quality and price concept. SLA will be able to see the quality of bids can improve, and may be able to take this style of tender to its other properties."

But he estimated that the market rental rate for the properties is currently about $3 per sq ft to $4 per sq ft, as "it is a nice location, but you have to crack your head to make it work".

He said that he expected the winning bidder to be one with international experience and able to find a concept for the space which may have some restrictions, owing to its conservation status.

CBRE head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia Desmond Sim said that the price and quality concept was a boost for the Orchard Road retail scene, as it will help the bidder to focus on "quality of concept", instead of "financial gains and survival".

"It's at one end of Orchard Road,, so it will not be a one-off project which will save Orchard Road," he said. "However, if a good concept is found, a well-curated concept can become a destination for tourists and locals."

Source: Straits Times, 3 May 2017